Roman Masterpiece Covered By Modernist Building

The Ara Pacis Augustae (Latin for "Altar of Augustan Peace") is covered by a Modernist building, designed by American architect Richard Meier.
April 29, 2006, 5am PDT | David Gest
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"The Ara Pacis Augustae...commissioned by the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar on 9 BC -- has been covered by a Modernist building, designed by the American architect, Richard Meier. According to the Italian news agency, ANSA, the project is controversial and many inhabitants of the Italian capital refer to it as phone box, gas station or 'cesso' -- the most vulgar Italian word for toilet."

"The new cover building for the altar, designed by the American architect, Richard Meier is the first major Modernist buildings of Rome, since Fascism. The project heated the debate over the Modernist interventions within historic places. The former mayor of Rome, Francesco Rutelli, was a big supporter of the Modernist intervention on the grounds that 'the old lady finally gets a modern addition to its Baroque heritage'.

However, many common Romans and traditional architects opposed such a building over one of the finest sculptures of Italy. Italian art historian, Vittorio Sgarbi -- one of the fiercest opponents -- burned a model of Meier's building in the Rome square, next to Ara Pacis. Vittorio Sgarbi said that Meier's modernist building will turn Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace) into a 'bara Pacis' (coffin of Peace)."

Thanks to Aura Neag

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Published on Friday, April 28, 2006 in INTBAU News
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